As the debt-ceiling doomsday countdown ticks toward zero, Republican leaders have turned to Hollywood to try to motivate their unruly caucus to get on board with House Speaker John Boehner’s last-minute plan to avert a government default.
House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy, a Californian, on Tuesday evening showed a clip from the bank-heist film “The Town” to fire up the troops, wrote Times reporters Lisa Mascaro and Kathleen Hennessey. (See video below.)
The choice of a bank-robbery film to help promote unity among the squabbling conservatives was met with puzzlement by some. In the clip, Ben Affleck’s character approaches a character played by Jeremy Renner and says “I need your help. I can’t tell you what it is. You can never ask me what it is. We’re going to hurt some people.”
“Whose car we gonna take?” Renner replies (in a strained Bah-stan accent).
That line about “going to hurt some people,” according to reports, may have been omitted from the clip shown to members. But regardless, the scene reportedly prompted the never-shy Rep. Allen West of Florida to jump to his feet and declare “I will drive the car!”
The Democratic National Committee, never one to let an opportunity go by to tweak the GOP, is holding a news conference Wednesday to condemn the “outrageousness” of the clip. Although it seems like the “We’re gonna hurt some people” line plays pretty well into the party’s 2012 plan to brand Republicans as out to destroy Medicare.
And Sen. Charles Schumer of New York, a leading Democrat, made light of the film's violent content Wednesday morning on Capitol Hill.
Schumer dryly noted that the scene in "The Town" used to inspire House members happens just before two characters in the film “put on hockey masks, bludgeon two men with sticks and shoot a man in the leg. Literally, in the movie the protagonists say, ‘People are going to get hurt,’ but they have to go ahead and do it anyway. Ladies and gentlemen, this is your House Republican majority.”
If the GOP leadership was really looking for a Ben Affleck film to inspire the caucus to vote to ward off a disaster, a better choice might have been “Armageddon.” In that 1998 film, Affleck is part of a ragtag, don’t-play-by-the-rules oil-drilling team that is sent into space to destroy an oncoming asteroid with a nuclear weapon. (Yes, you read that right.)
Affleck, near the film’s climax, actually survives the crash of a shuttle on an asteroid. That takes a little more intestinal fortitude than robbing a bank. So the only question left is: Will Allen West pilot the shuttle?
Here’s the clip from “The Town.”
And here's a clip from "Armageddon." You be the judge. Kathleen Hennessey of the Washington Bureau contributed to this report.